A hard Brexit would ‘devastate’ Ireland’s €3 billion beef and livestock sector, according to IFA president Joe Healy.
Speaking at an IFA lobby of TDs and Senators on the beef crisis in Dublin, Healy said that the group estimates that “the imposition of WTO tariffs in a hard-Brexit will impose a direct cost on the beef sector of €800m per year”.
While the Government and other sectors are talking about preparing for Brexit, Healy said that beef farmers are already counting their losses.
Already, cattle prices are down €100 per head on this time last year as Brexit uncertainty and the weakness of sterling has already hit hard on beef prices and farm incomes.
“The income situation on beef and livestock farms is at crisis point. The latest independent data from Teagasc shows farm incomes are down 16% in 2018,” Healy added.
The farmer’s representative group presented a detailed set of proposals to politicians and demanded that the Government take ‘urgent action’ with the EU Commission to address beef and Brexit issues.
One of the proposals was an EU Brexit Emergency Support Package, involving a comprehensive set of market supports and direct aid for farmers from the EU Commission - something that Brussels has already promised.
Calls to insist on an increase in the CAP Budget and to avoid a Mercosur trade deal were also proposed, both of which have been repeatedly called for by the IFA.
IFA National Livestock Chairman Angus Woods joined Healy in his calls for action, by urging the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, to abandon his ‘wait and see attitude’ and get back out to Brussels to secure an immediate aid package for Brexit beef losses.
© 2019 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Aidan O’Sullivan. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.